New Course: A/B Testing & Optimization for Nonprofits. Learn how to set up and conduct A/B tests »Learn More »

How a Campaign Donation Page Can Boost Your Online Revenue

Published by Nathan Hill

The campaign donation page is one of the 3 essential types of donation pages that every single nonprofit needs to be using in order to grow their online fundraising. If you’ve ever sent an email appeal or run some sort of advertising campaign to acquire donations, you’ve more than likely used a campaign donation page. Or at least, you should have.

One of the most common mistakes that online fundraisers make is assuming that your general donation page is good enough to use for all of your fundraising efforts.

And on the one hand, it makes sense:

  • All your tracking is consolidated into one page.
  • Any updates you make affect all your campaigns
  • You only have to ever send your donors to one URL.

But all these are focused on the needs of your organization, not the needs of the donor.

The truth is, having only one single donation experience is going to keep your donors and potential donors from being as generous as they could be. And your cause will pay the price.

How can we create a catered donation page experience for our donors that motivates them to give? The campaign donation page is the first step.

When and Why Should You Use a Campaign Donation Page?

When should you use a campaign donation page?

Campaign Donation Page SourcesThe answer to this question is fairly simple. If someone isn’t naturally navigating your website to make a donation, you more than likely should be using a campaign page. These types of pages are used whenever you are specifically asking someone to make a donation.

For example, this could include:

  • A monthly email appeal
  • Social media campaigns
  • A high-urgency campaign (like a giving day or year-end)
  • Radio or broadcast campaigns
  • Display advertising campaigns
  • Print based campaigns (like magazines or newsletters)

Why should you use a campaign donation page?

The answer to this question is really the heart of this post. Effective fundraising isn’t so much about the specific practices and tactics as it is about understanding why donors decide to give.

And the reason why you need dedicated campaign donation pages is because the motivation of a donor from a direct response channel like email is drastically different than that of a donor visiting your general donation page.

On a general donation page, we just want to get out of the way. A donor on this type of page already has a high degree of motivation to give. And the motivation can be for a wide variety of reasons, so we can’t be too specific.

On a campaign page, a donor has arrived for a very particular reason. You’ve asked them to donate from a specific appeal. This may be to raise money for a particular need that has come up. It could be related to a specific thank-you offer. Or it might simply be because you had a unique story to tell that led into a donation ask.

While the specific reason that a potential donor clicked through to your campaign donation page may vary campaign to campaign, the point is that you’ve primed them with a particular reason for being there.

As a result, your campaign donation page needs to be specifically written and designed around that particular reason.

Campaign donation page should match your call-to-action

What makes a campaign donation page unique?

There are 21 elements to keep in mind as you craft campaign donation pages that we’ve identified in our research so far. Now, each one of the 21 elements are backed and supported by multiple experiments, and they’ve been tested and proven with data.

We’d be here all day if we tried to fully explore all the data we have on each element, so I’ll give them to you in rapid-fire fashion. (I’ve linked up experiments that show some of the data if you want to dig in).

Ready? Here we go:

  1. Get rid of the navigation at the top of your page. And please don’t put a “Donate” button that jumps your visitor right to your form. It sounds like a good idea, but it decreases donations.
  2. Don’t over-invest in design. As long as your page is readable, additional design elements rarely make a significant difference.
  3. Clearly spell out the effect of someone’s donation right in the headline.
  4. Try using either a progress bar (showing how close you are to a fundraising goal) or a count-down clock to a specific giving deadline. But don’t put them both in the same spot.
  5. If you use a background image, make sure it’s directly related to the reason why someone should give.
  6. After your headline, write in introductory paragraph that relates to the specific reason someone clicked through to your page. (Your email call-to-action, for example.)
  7. Don’t use videos. I know most people hate hearing that, so here are 3 times we tested using copy instead of a video and increased donations by 203%, 342%, and 560%.
  8. More images does not mean more donations, but we’ve found that a representative graphic can help bolster your value proposition.
  9. For the rest of your copy, use a narrative and story-driven approach. Don’t spend too much time in the details.
  10. Make sure your main message is framed around the donor and the impact their gift can have.
  11. You can use a premium offer (like a free book), but make sure they come at the bottom of your copy. And be clear about when it will arrive.
  12. Right before your actual donation form, insert a final call-to-action. Don’t use call-to-actions throughout your page.
  13. It’s normally best to ditch the gift array and use an open gift amount field instead.
  14. Don’t default or over-emphasize a recurring gift. Donors don’t want to feel like you’re trying to coerce them into giving more.
  15. Avoid using “Recent Gift” call-outs next to your form. We’ve seen these actually hurt revenue.
  16. Pre-populate as much basic donor info as you can. And make sure your “Phone Number” field is always optional.
  17. Condense your form fields as much as possible to reduce the length of the page. Don’t stack them one on top of the other.
  18. Visually box out the area with your credit card/payment fields. Add a lock icon to communicate that donating is secure.
  19. Use alternate payment methods with caution. Pay-pal often decreases donations, and options like Apple Pay don’t always make a significant difference.
  20. Add 3rd party credibility indicators near your donate button (Charity Navigator, GuideStar, BBB, etc.). And add a short sentence or two below the button reinforcing the value of donating.
  21. Get rid of any gift verification screens. Donors often think they’ve completed a gift after the first page, and end up abandoning before verifying the transaction.

Campaign Donation Page TemplateCampaign Donation Page Guide

Whew! That was a lot.

I’ve spent a ton of time studying all 3 of these donation page outlines, and it’s still hard to keep everything straight. That’s why we’ve created a free download that you can print out, keep at your desk, or put up on your wall as a reference every time you set up a campaign donation page.

You can download the free campaign donation page guide using the form below. I hope it’s helpful for you!


About the author:

Nathan Hill

Nathan is the Marketing Director for NextAfter. He spends every day working to help nonprofit organizations discover how testing and optimization can transform their marketing and fundraising, leading to greater impact and organizational growth. He is also a giant Star Wars nerd.